academic english writing free online course

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What is Writing?

Writing is a skill that involves using text to communicate important ideas. The study of writing equips students with highly transferable experience in academic writing, essay writing, business communication, creative writing, storytelling, and more. From a technical standpoint, writing also helps students cultivate high-level reading comprehension skills and proper grammar knowledge.

Free Online Writing Courses

edX offers a plethora of some of the best free online writing courses for new writers. Students interested in learning how to write or who want to gain basic writing tips for improving their writing have access to a wide range of academic courses available online for beginner level, intermediate, and advanced students.

Whether you are interested in brushing up on the key elements of report writing, essay writing, letter writing, or academic writing, there are a wide range of online courses and writing styles to explore.

Are you a hopeful writer who has always wanted to write a novel? Take creative writing courses and register for How to Write a Novel: Writing the Draft, an intermediate course currently offered by University of British Columbia. Move from outline to draft, and learn how crucial craft lessons from MFA faculty on scene design, dialogue, character development and plot can help you reach your writing goals.

Taking a writing course and developing stronger writing skills isn’t only beneficial to MFA candidates. Strong writing skills can also help prepare you for a career in fundraising. Learn how to increase your impact, innovate, and overcome often static funding through various fundraising and grant writing approaches by registering for Michigan University’s introduction to Grant Writing and Crowdfunding for Public Libraries.

If you simply need to brush up on your writing skills as you pursue other college-level courses you can also focus on the fundamental principles of essay writing through UC Berkeley’s intro to How to Write an Essay.

Jobs in Writing

Clear writing and communication skills are highly sought in a range of industries, including advertising, publishing, law, development work, and web design, making a writing background attractive to many potential employers

Taking an online writing courses will give students the communication skills they need in a career as a technical writer, digital copyeditor, or even author. With creative writing degrees, online writers workshops, and certificates from online writing classes or programs, students from all backgrounds get exposure to different kinds of writing, such as descriptive writing, and learn to give and receive critical feedback.

Currently, a search of “writing jobs” yields over 300,000 results for open positions ranging from Content Writer for online resources to a role as Elementary Reading and Writing Tutor, for those more interested in getting into the education field. Of those writing roles over 100,000 offer competitive salaries of $50,000 a year or more. Whether you’re interested writing a bestseller or giving yourself a competitive advantage in another field, strong writing skills are in high demand, making writing a highly marketable skill.

Careers in Writing

Good writing has the power to transport us to different worlds, convey history, and help us to understand different cultures. Find your voice and gain skills applicable to myriad future career goals by signing up for an edX writing course today!

If you are an English language learner and getting ready to enter into university, getting up to speed on your academic writing will mean the difference between success and struggle in your academic pursuits. However, you’re in luck, as there are several free online academic English writing courses available that offer students like you a chance to brush up on your skills in your own time and without paying a dime.

  1. A Beginner’s Guide to Writing in English for University Study — In this five-week course provided by the University of Reading (via FutureLearn), you will learn how to write using academic English in preparation for university study. The course was developed to help students learn the basics of writing in English for academic purposes, including the stages of essay writing. Aimed at non-English speakers with a minimum level of IELTS 4.5 or equivalent, you should know some English before taking this course.
  2. Adjectives and Adjective Clauses — In this four-week course provided by the University of California, Irvine (via Coursera), you will learn how to make your writing more interesting through writing adjectives and adjective clauses. In the first module, you will review what adjectives (and adjective phrases) are and how to use them correctly in English. In the second module, you’ll learn about adjective clauses, what they look like, and how to use them correctly to make your sentences more complex. In the final module, you’ll learn the different ways to use adjective clauses in academic writing.
  3. Advanced Writing — In this four-week course provided by the University of California, Irvine (via Coursera), you will learn to raise your level of academic writing in preparation for college-level work. Specifically, you will learn to plan and write a more sophisticated argumentative essay; identify plagiarism and explain how to prevent it; read and analyze several articles to form your own opinion on a topic; make connections between several articles; form thesis statements from your readings; and use sources effectively when writing an essay. While you’ll have access to all the instructional videos and handouts by taking the free version of this course, you’ll need to enroll in the paid version to receive peer feedback and take quizzes.
  4. Conjunctions, Connectives, and Adverb Clauses — In this four-week course provided by the University of California, Irvine (via Coursera), you will learn about the different types of conjunctions in English and how to use them and punctuate them in sentences. You will also learn how to join ideas with correct grammar and punctuation, including transition words and prepositional phrases, complex sentences, and adverb clauses. Finally, you’ll learn a more advanced way to write complex sentences by reducing the adverb clauses. Each of these lessons will help you write academic English more fluently.
  5. English Composition — In this eight-week course provided by Arizona State University (via edX) as part of the Global Freshman Academy (GFA), you will learn how to communicate your ideas clearly through English writing. Specifically, you will learn to develop ideas effectively for a variety of purposes, audiences and occasions through completing several major written projects. Furthermore, you will learn how to craft your writing to meet the needs of specific audiences for specific purposes; how to make decisions about what to include and not include in your writing; how to use invention, research, drafting, revising, and editing in your writing; to use various formats and stylistic choices, including genre conventions; and how to use diverse technologies to write more effectively and efficiently.
  6. English Composition I — In this ten-week course provided by Duke University (via Coursera), you will learn college-level writing by reading carefully, writing effective arguments, understanding the writing process, engaging with others’ ideas, citing accurately, and crafting powerful prose. Throughout the course, you will also learn how to summarize, analyze, question, and evaluate written and visual texts; argue and support a position; recognize audience and disciplinary expectations; identify and use the stages of the writing process; identify characteristics of effective prose; apply proper citation practices; and discuss applying your writing knowledge to other writing occasions.
  7. English Grammar and Style — In this eight-week course sponsored by The University of Queensland (via edX), you can learn key concepts and strategies in grammar and style to help enhance your writing. The course offers instruction in grammatical principles, word usage, writing style, sentence and paragraph structure, and punctuation. Video interviews with distinguished grammarians, along with quizzes and writing activities, assist students build their English writing skills.
  8. Getting Started with Essay Writing — In this four-week course provided by the University of California, Irvine (via Coursera), you will learn about the three types of academic essays and how to improve your writing skills when writing each type. The course covers how to create effective thesis statements for your essays; how to plan and write compare/contrast, cause/effect, and argument essays; and how to write well-developed body paragraphs. While the lectures and practice activities are available for free, students must enroll in the paid version to take the quizzes and receive feedback on writing assignments.
  9. Grammar and Punctuation — In this four-week course offered by the University of California, Irvine (via Coursera), you will learn the basics of writing academic English for studying in an American university. It includes video lectures, readings, practice exercises, and quizzes, although the free version does not offer peer feedback and graded quizzes. By the end of the course, you will know how to identify the correct verb tenses to use, use commas effectively, utilize several different sentence types, and write more effectively in English.
  10. How to Write an Essay — In this five-week course provided by the University of California, Berkeley (via edX), you will be introduced to academic writing for English learners by learning essay development, grammatical correctness, and self-editing. The course covers basic grammar terminology and understanding; writing effective sentences and paragraphs; introductions and conclusions; strategies for writing longer texts; and thesis statements. It is provided in partnership with the U.S. Department of State.
  11. Introduction to Research for Essay Writing — In this four-week course provided by the University of California, Irvine (via Coursera), you will learn the steps involved in planning, outlining, and writing a research paper. Some topics covered include how to choose appropriate research topics for your classes, how to find source material for research papers, how to avoid plagiarizing, and how to take and organize notes in the process of your research. You will also learn how to use an appropriate academic tone and language in your writing, along with how to document sources by creating a Works Cited list in MLA format.
  12. Perfect Tenses and Modals — In this four-week course provided by the University of California, Irvine (via Coursera), you will learn about important intermediate verb tenses, including present perfect, present perfect progressive, past perfect, and past perfect progressive. The course also covers common modal verbs used in English. Although it is designed for learners who already have a basic understanding of English grammar, it will help you become a better academic writer.
  13. Preparing for College: Writing Proficiency — This self-paced course provided by Parkland College (via Canvas Network) is third in a series of four courses that are aimed at helping students improve their scores on placement tests while preparing for college-level courses. The focus of this course is on writing skills, along with links to practice tests to help students identify problem areas and supplemental help for students who need it.
  14. Scribble: Writing for New Writers — In this 13-week course provided via OpenLearning, you will learn the process of writing—from simple paragraphs to more complex writing structures. The course’s eventual aim is to prepare you for research writing. Designed for students who are studying English and are preparing to soon enter a university, this course will help you brush up on some basic skills such as sentence and paragraph creation, along with proper English structure and forms of writing.
  15. Tricky English Grammar — In this four-week course provided by the University of California, Irvine (via Coursera), you will learn about tricky issues in English grammar that can confuse even the most astute student. This includes tricky nouns, articles, and quantifiers; when to put “a” or “the” in front of a noun; when to put nothing in front of the noun; using gerunds and infinitives correctly; making requests and asking for permission; some word forms that cause confusion; and phrasal verbs and collocations.
  16. Verb Tenses and Passives — In this four-week course provided by the University of California, Irvine (via Coursera), you will review the verb tenses that you learned in beginning English classes and learn about a few tenses you may not know very well. It covers 12 of the English verb tenses and passive verb forms, along with how to blend these tenses, which is what native speakers frequently do. Overall, this course will help you improve your fluency in written and spoken academic English. While the free version of this class gives you access to all of the instructional videos and handouts, you will need to enroll in the paid course to receive peer feedback and take quizzes.
  17. Writing in English at University — In this four-week course provided by Lund University (via Coursera), you will learn to understand the conventions of academic writing in English along with the various components of the academic writing process. The course is divided into four modules:
    1. Writing in English at university: An introduction;
    2. Structuring your text and conveying your argument;
    3. Using sources in academic writing; and
    4. The writer’s toolbox: Editing and proofreading.The course consists of video lectures, reading assignments, and reflective self-assessment questions, along with peer review exercises that provide students with an opportunity to interact with their peers also taking the course.

There are many beginner professionals who want to improve their writing skills and get ahead in their writing careers. Moreover, it is also not feasible for working professionals to go back to school and improve their scribing skills. Thankfully, you will find many online writing classes on the Internet that help you polish and enhance your writing and authoring skills.

Following is a handpicked list of the Top Online Writing Courses & Certifications to gather knowledge about this subject. The list contains both open source (free) and commercial (paid) courses.

BEST Online Writing Courses for Creative, Fiction, and Nonfiction Writers

Course NameProviderPriceKey TopicsLinks
Secret Sauce of Great WritingUdemyFreeSkill writingLearn More
Writing with ImpactLinkedInFreeJournalismLearn More
Essay Essentials: Improve Your Academic WritingUdemyFreeAcademicLearn More
Craft Your Cover LetterUdacityFreeCover letterLearn More
Creative Writing SpecializationCourseraOne month freeCreative writingLearn More
Writing ArticlesLinkedIn1-month free trialWriting skillsLearn More
Start Writing FictionFuture learnFree trialFictionLearn More
Writing Ad CopyLinkedIn1-month free trial.Creative writingLearn More

1) Secret Sauce of Great Writing

Secret Sauce of Great Writing is a course designed by Shani Raja. This course will teach you the four main concepts of good writing: Simplicity, Clarity, Elegance, and Evocativeness. It will also help you learn how to add those ingredients skillfully.

At the end of this online writing course, you will have a good grasp of how professional writers create powerful and beautiful prose. In this online writing course, you can quickly identify your writing weaknesses, understand the principles, and fix and improve it significantly.

Key topics:

  • The Secret Sauce of Flair
  • The Four Crucial Ingredients
  • How I Discovered the Sauce
  • The Power of Simplicity
  • Simplicity Exercises
  • The Power of Clarity
  • Clarity Exercises
  • The Power of Elegance
  • Elegance Exercises
  • The Power of Evocativeness
  • Evocativeness Exercises

Features:

  • Online video content
  • Instructor Q&A
  • Instructor direct message

Pricing: Free

Rating: 4.6

Duration: 41 minutes of on-demand video

Provider: Udemy

Certificate on Completion: Yes

Level: Intermediate

Link: https://www.udemy.com/course/secret-sauce-of-great-writing/


2) Writing with Impact

This course shows how to give your writing more impact, regardless of its purpose. In this course, the writer and journalist Tom Geller help you find your reasons for writing with the demonstration. The writer also gives you training about how you can use those reasons to drive the words you select and the tone you take.

The author of this course also shares his understanding of grammar and sentence structure for writing with maximum impact. After completing this free online writing course, you will be equipped with plenty of practical writing tips to make your writing clear and crisp.

Key topics:

  • Meaning of writing with impact
  • Learning about your Readers
  • Understanding How People Read
  • Write Short, Clear, and Right

Features:

  • Helps you qualify for continuing education units.
  • Chapter quizzes.
  • Professional author instructor.
  • Certificate on completion.

Duration: 1-hour on-demand video

Provider: LinkedIn

Certificate on Completion: Yes

Level: Intermediate

Link: https://www.linkedin.com/learning/writing-with-impact


3) Essay Essentials: Improve Your Academic Writing

Improve your Academic writing is a video course that helps you learn to learn how to write essay. This free writer’s course will help you find the essay writing success you deserve by learning essay writing foundations.

Key topics:

  • How the writing situation, process, and classroom resources.
  • Brainstorm to create and use ideas that help you to develop the essay.
  • Develop and structure introduction and conclusion paragraphs.
  • Write a clear, specific, and well-connected thesis.
  • Understand the organization of essay paragraphs.
  • How to create detailed, specific, and appropriate content.
  • Proof-read spelling and grammatical errors using helpful rules and tips.

Features:

  • Online video content
  • Certificate of completion accredited by universities.
  • Instructor Q&A
  • Instructor direct message

Rating: 4.4

Duration: 1hr 14min of on-demand video

Provider: Udemy

Certificate on Completion: Yes

Link: https://www.udemy.com/course/essay-essentials-improve-your-academic-writing/


4) Craft Your Cover Letter

In this short course, you will learn to use proven writing techniques to show why you are the best person to do this job.

In these writing classes for beginners, you will also learn how to research company values, target your writing pitch, and develop an authentic story. It offers the research and writing tools you need to show why you are the best person for the specific job!

Key topics:

  • Target your applications to specific opportunities.
  • Students are able to understand the purpose of a cover letter.
  • Write an effective introduction, body, and conclusion.

Features:

  • Rich Learning Content
  • Interactive Quizzes
  • Instructor videos
  • Learn by doing exercises.
  • Taught by industry professionals.

Pricing: Free

Duration: Self-placed learning

Provider: Udacity

Certificate on Completion:

Level: Beginner

5) Creative Writing Specialization

This Creating Writing specialization course covers three important elements of writing genres: short story, narrative essay, and memoir.

In this course, you will master the techniques that any good writer uses to create a story full of memorable characters. This beginner’s writing workshop also helps you to analyze and constructively evaluate peer writing. It is one of the best writing courses designed for anyone, from aspiring short story writers to established novelists.

Key Topics:

  • The Craft of Plot
  • The Craft of Character
  • Setting and Description
  • The Craft of Style

Features:

  • Self-Paced learning option for students
  • HD quality course videos
  • Practice quizzes
  • Graded assignments with peer feedback
  • Quizzes with Feedback
  • Programming assignments

Pricing: Free

Duration: Approximately 6 months to complete

Provider: Coursera

Certificate on Completion: Yes

Languages: English, Arabic, French, Portuguese (European), Serbian, Chinese

Level: Beginner

Link: https://www.coursera.org/specializations/creative-writing


6) Writing Articles

Articles effectively communicate complex ideas and stories in a friendly, credible, and easy-to-follow way. In this writing course, you will learn how to write and publish an article of your own.

This free writing course explains how you can determine your writing approach, pitch your story to a publication, completely research your subject matter, and write and polish your article content. This course also discusses how you can submit a complete package to editors.

It is one of the best free online writing courses for new writers. It helps you to learn the skills you need to write a well-crafted article that connects with readers.

Key Topics:

  • Determining Your Article Writing Approach
  • Gathering Content for your Article
  • Producing Your Article
  • Polishing and Submitting Your Article
  • Promoting Your work

Pricing: Free

Duration: Self-placed

Provider: LinkedIn

Certificate on Completion: Yes

Mobile apps: iOS and Android

Level: Beginner

Link:https://www.linkedin.com/learning/writing-articles-2


7) Start Writing Fiction

Start Writing Fiction is a course that helps you to create how to develop your ideas, which reflect on your writing and editing. This online writing class is intended for those interested in writing fiction or improving their fiction writing.

Key Topics:

  • Creation of characters in fiction
  • Different sources for characters in stories
  • Ways of presenting characters in stories
  • Reading as a writer
  • Writing skill like creativity, research, observation, and editing

Features:

  • It provides the freedom to keep access to any online course you’ve achieved a digital certificate of.
  • It offers the flexibility to complete your choice of short courses in your own time within the year.

Rating: 4.7

Provider: Future learn

Link: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/start-writing-fiction


8) Write a Book!

Write a Book is an online writing course offered by Udemy. This course explains how to organize and begin writing a short story, novel, or nonfiction book with concepts similar for each form. This online course is ideal for someone looking to grasp the fundamentals of writing using the English language.

Key topics:

  • Learn to write basics, like including punctuation, sentences, paragraphs, etc.
  • Learn about advanced writing techniques.
  • Learn to write short nonfiction books.
  • The advanced dialog to draw the reader into your story.
  • How to use MS PowerPoint to create a book cover.
  • How to discover your writing style.
  • Learn how to self-edit your book manuscript.

Features:

  • 28 articles
  • Full lifetime access for students
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of completion

Rating: 4.3

Duration: 17 hours of on-demand video

Provider: Udemy

Certificate on Completion: Yes

Link: https://www.udemy.com/course/writenow/


9) Writing Ad Copy

Writing Ad Copy is an online course that helps you create ad copy that effectively conveys your brand and drives traffic to convert clicks into sales. The course designer Michael Duquet also teaches you the rules for writing ads for different platforms.

The author of this course, Michael, explains how you can change your message and tone according to your target audience and customer personality.

In the last chapters, you will learn about some common dos and don’ts and explains about the future of advertising holds for copywriters.

Key topics:

  • Rules of Ad Copy Writing
  • Ad Copy Goals
  • Writing Ad Copy for various media
  • Understanding Your Audience
  • Personas and Tone
  • Do and Don’ts.

Pricing: Free

Duration: Self-placed

Provider: LinkedIn

Certificate on Completion: Yes

Mobile apps: iOS and Android

Level: Intermediate

Link: https://www.linkedin.com/learning/writing-ad-copy


10) Write A Feature Length Screenplay For Film Or Television

Write A Feature Length Screenplay For Film Or Television teaches you how to write a feature-length screenplay for film or television or web-series. In this screen playwriting course, you will also learn to break down the creative process into components. You will also discover a structured process that helps you produce a polished and pitch-ready script.

Completing this online course helps you to improve your confidence in your ideas and abilities. After learning this online course, you will feel prepared to pitch your first script and start with the next one.

Key Topics:

  • Creating The Idea.
  • Logline and Dramatic Question.
  • Create your character profile.
  • The Three Act Story Arc.
  • Screenplay Formatting and Software.
  • Begin your screenplay.
  • Write the final section.
  • Table read your entire script.
  • Finishing things up.

Rating: 4.6

Pricing: Free

Duration: Approx. 93 hours to complete

Provider: Coursera

Mobile Compatible: Yes

Certificate on Completion: Yes

Mobile apps: iOS and Android

Level: Beginner

Link: https://www.coursera.org/learn/write-a-feature-length-screenplay-for-film-or-television#about


11) Online Creative Writing Classes

Skillshare is an online course platform that is focused on education. It includes various topics related to graphic design, data science, e-commerce, analytics, etc. This online course will expand your horizons to learn more about creative writing. You can try these online classes that teach about creative writing techniques, tools, and topics like character development, outlining, storytelling, creating a compelling plot, and how you can make your words more artful.

This course helps you to enhance and helps you to create character-driven stories with creative writing prompts. This online class is broken down into short lessons that include hands-on projects to complete and share.

Features:

  • Learn creative writing in various genres like fiction, poetry, humor, etc.
  • It helps you to find classes that are designed for real life.
  • Get ideas for writing daily journals.
  • Real creators teach the classes.
  • You can learn from any device.

Link: https://www.skillshare.com/browse/creative-writing


12) Freelance Writing Courses

Udemy is an online platform that helps you create courses for business, writing, design, marketing, etc. You can develop new skills and achieve your goals by taking training and learning from the extensive library of various Udemy courses.

Udemy offers a wide range of writing courses. This freelance writing course can be viewed on all devices connected to the Internet. You do not require any prequalification to take this course.

Features:

  • Understand different forms of writing styles and methods as per target audience.
  • Learn best practices for Blog Writing.
  • Learn how to do screenwriting to tell a compelling story.
  • Develop methods that help you to stay productive as a writer.

Key Courses:

  • Grant Writing for Nonprofits and Freelance Writers
  • The Complete Freelance Writing Course
  • How to Start a Freelance Writing Career
  • The Complete Freelance Writing Online
  • Freelance Copywriting: Write Dirty. Go Big
  • How to Start Profitable Freelance Writing Business in 5 Weeks

Link: https://www.udemy.com/topic/freelance-writing/


13) English Writing Skills–Revised

English Writing skills is a free online English language course that will guide you through the most important English writing styles. It shows you how and when to apply each one verb and improve your knowledge about the correct usage of punctuation and grammar.

This online writing course helps you express yourself clearly and effectively in your writing. This online learning material also helps you fulfill your dream of becoming a professional writer or improving your English writing.

Key Topics:

  • English Writing Skills
  • English-Writing
  • Story Writing
  • Descriptive Writing
  • Science Fiction, Nonfiction, Instructional, Opinionative
  • Reflective Writing

Rating: 2.5

Pricing: Free

Duration: Self-placed

Provider: Alison

Mobile Compatible: Yes

Certificate on Completion: Yes

Mobile apps: iOS and Android

Level: Intermediate

Link: https://alison.com/course/english-writing-skills-revised

FAQ:

🏅 How to choose an Online Writing Course?

Here are some important guidelines for selecting an online writing course:

A. Identity your goal:

First, you need to find out your goal. Like you want to learn basic writing skills like improving your grammar, you want to learn notification writing, fiction writing, nonfiction writing, etc.

B. Set your course budget:

Then you need to decide yourself how much money you want to spend, both in terms of time and money. There are many free online writing courses. However, if you want to learn an advanced creative writing course, then you need to pay for that.

C. Pick a Commitment Level:

It is certainly the most important aspect for selecting the online writing course. How much daily or weekly time can you spend learning the course. There are many online courses that are completely self-paced, which means you work through the material on your own and take time as much as you want.

❓ What are the Pros And Cons Of Online Writing Courses?

Here are some important Pros and Cons of Online Writing Classes:

Pros:

  • These courses are meant for independent study, so you can learn at your own pace.
  • Some courses do not even have homework assignments, writing exercises, or time constraints.
  • Online courses give you exclusive information and learning materials.
  • You are able to interact and learn with other writers using online communities, which helps you learn to write skills.

Cons:

  • Online writing course sometimes not allows any personal touch of classroom writing courses.
  • You will never have face-to-face interactions with associate learners.
  • Some online writing courses have no instructor feedback.
  • The quality and price of online writing courses vary greatly.

⚡ What is the best app for writing letters?

Here are some of the best writing apps which help you to write professional letters:

  • Grammarly: Grammarly is a widely used writing enhancement tool. It offers numerous writing styles, suggestions for grammar, vocabulary, and syntax. You can use this tool via the website, as a browser extension, or as an app that you can download to your computer.
  • Prowritingaid: Prowritingaid is a tool that offers a world-class grammar and style checking facility. It helps you to edit documents faster. This software includes more than 1000 styles to improve your writing skills.
  • Microsoft Word: Microsoft Word is a writing app that helps you transform documents into web pages. It offers a real-time translation facility with just one tap. This program enables you to read and edit documents attached to the email.
  • Calmlywriter: Calmlywriter is free writing software. This online application is designed to help you focus on your writing skills. It has a “focus mode” option that can highlight the paragraph you are writing.
  • FocusWriter: It is a writing tool that enables you to access the interface by moving the mouse to the edge of the screen. The software helps you to translate the content into more than 20 languages. It helps correct spelling effortlessly.

❗ What can you expect from a Free Creative Writing Class?

There are many free creative writing courses that help you to learn how to express yourself in words. A free writing course gives you training about general grammar, writing style, and other important stuff related to writing instead of teaching any specific fiction, nonfiction, or scientific writing skills.

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